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Old 2013-11-02, 14:06   Link #1
RyviusRan
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YU-NO - the best video game plot ever!





I see a lot of people asking what are the best video game plots around.
Usually I see people answer with Planescape:Torment, The Longest Journey, Grim Fandango etc. etc.
I have played them all plus more and while they are all great stories I have found something that I liked even more.

Some may be turned off by the mention of this term but the game I think to have one of the best stories is a visual novel.
I can already imagine the people closing this thread at the mention of this very term.
When most people think of visual novels they see Japanese porn games.
And I would agree to some extent they are correct.
The visual novel market is filled with games that are high in sexual content and are not that special story wise aside but there are some visual novels that do have good plots.
In my opinion YU-NO excels above all others.
So if you are still reading this let me tell you why.







For a video game there are many aspects that can help create a great story but the few that I will mention are;

The plot itself
Voice acting
Characters
Music
Art

YU-NO excels in all these aspects.

Before going into detail about these aspects here is a summary of the beginning of YU-NO.


Summary:

The main character is a high school student named Takuya.
After three months of being reported missing from a cave-in, his father,Arima Kodai (a successful historian and researcher), is declared dead.
The whole town is shocked by his father's death. The only person who seems largely unaffected is Takuya himself who has always struggled to bond with his traditional and strict father, and lost his own mother at a very young age.
But while the young student may not outwardly show much in the way of emotion, his grades have begun to suffer, and his surrounding individuals at school have taken note of his inner struggles.
Summer vacation is nearing and Takuya finds himself questioning the circumstances of his father's sudden disappearance, feeling it was a typical dramatic ending as his father always seems to strive for, and having been left alone only to live with his stepmother, fills him with anger and frustration.
Aimlessly wandering the hallways at school and treading home to the all too quiet home, he suddenly finds a package left for him. The contents startle him. A letter. An unknown device consisting of mirrors.
The letter tells of a theory of alternate dimensions, gateways and usage of the alien device to bend time and space. While most of the information goes over Takuya's head, one thing clearly grips him; the letter is signed by his father. His mind races to resolve the mysterious revelation, could his father still be alive? How, and most importantly, where?




And now back to why I think it is above all others.



Plot:

The plot in YU-NO is not easy to do well, it's massive in length (80+ hours) and deals with complicated subjects.
It's a sci-fi/mystery with parallel/time traveling.
Whenever confronting such subjects there is a fine balance between believable and nonsensical.
YU-NO handles the subject on parallel worlds and time traveling very well.
It introduces you to a well explained theory and even gives you the mathematical equations for authenticity.
It keeps this theory within strict boundaries so it does not fall into absurdity like a lot of poorly made sci-fi stories get caught in.
YU-NO is cerebral in the ways it challenges morals and logic.
Despite balancing the very delicate time travel aspect, it also goes into philosophies of religion, history and introduces both traditional and contemporary mythology in the form of unknown creatures and alien technology.
And yet even with all these elements where one slip could result in plot holes or irrational leaps of logic, the writing is always able to support the immense weight of the responsibilities it has to keep everything in balance.
Every mystery and every twist has an answer, and every answer reveals enough to satisfy the most skeptic of minds.
Ironically, while many games today struggle to establish a concise world and narrative through numerous sequels and merchandise, YU-NO changes its world in an instant multiple times, yet remains a much more complete entity.
YU-NO demands the fullest attention and requires some dedication, not through a steep learning curve or general difficulty, but to immerse yourself fully and feel the plight and troubles of the characters.
For those who truly sit down with it and let themselves be taken emotionally along the ride, it's one of the best crafted stories in game history and the true ending to the game is one of the most exhilarating and incredible experiences you will ever have while playing a video game.




Voice acting:

A large portion of the 80+ hour game is made up of voiced dialogue and all through out the game it remains high in quality.
The cast of voice actors/actresses are all professionals who know what they are doing.
Most of the actors/actresses are well known in Japan and have played many roles in anime and video games.

Anime such as;
Yu Yu Hakusho, Sword Art Online, Oh My Goddess!, Ranma 1/2, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ghost in a Shell, Sailor Moon, Claymore, Trigun, Cowboy Bebop, Dragon Ball, Full Metal Alchemist, Excel Saga, Fruits Basket, Full Metal Panic, Bleach, and Pokemon.

And video games;
Soul Calibur, Armored Core, Metal Gear Solid, Guilty Gear, Tales of Destiny, Tales of Symphonia.....pretty much most Tales of games, Disgaea, Xenogears, Xenosaga, Dead or Alive, Tekken, Grandia, Valkyrie Profile, Kingdom Hearts, Onimusha.

For a full list of the voice cast click on the link below.
Link to cast


Unlike a lot of games where the voice acting is emotionless, awkward or not fitting with the character YU-NO nails the job.
Each character has a voice actor that fits in with their personality and looks.
Other than being professionals one of the reasons the voice acting works so well is because the dialogue is written with care.
In YU-NO, every spoken line has meaning, comes from something real and is never treated as a throwaway aspect.
And though the spoken lines are Japanese, the emotion of the delivery is universally understood, from the times of laughter to the times of deadly fear, the performers are able to communicate the intended message without any doubt.



Characters:

At first look the characters seem rather cliched and you might be quick to compare them to their well know stereotypes.
But in a short period of time you realize the characters are well made with a good amount of depth and intelligence to them.
This is partly due to the well made script which creates convincing characters who are easy to relate to.
The main character in YU-NO is especially noteworthy of this.
Takuya leads a life of duality.
The exterior behavior, in which he shows little to no sign of pain or sorrow over the loss of his father, acting foolishly naive to the people around him and the inner dialogue, which shows his anger, frustration and intelligence.
The characters around Takuya are also more than what they seem. Double lives, hidden secrets, conspiracies, everything has more than one side to it.




Music:

This game was created on old hardware with a sound chip from the late 1980s so there is plenty of limitations for what can be done.
Despite this the music composer was able to create a large list of quality music.
His approach to music was with shocking amount of care and detail.
The soundtrack is not the kind that immediately kicks up to 5th gear and remains high in adrenaline and tempo, but rather one that always keeps the emotional background relevant and in place, telling a story in music as much as the game does in writing and speech.

To show what I am talking about here are some songs from the game.
I cannot show the whole list of music here as it contains 83 tracks that is 5 hours in length.
This music is composed from sound hardware that is older than the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo so I was quite surprised to see what the composer accomplished with the limitations in place and how well each songs fits within the scenes being played out.












Art:

As I said before this game was made on old hardware. The PC-98 is computer from the mid to late 1980s.
There are various models of the PC-98 but most of the changes weren't great enough to effect the overall visuals aside from advancements in color display made in the earlier models.
The limitations of the hardware only allowed for 16 colors to be displayed at any time and despite that the artwork in YU-NO is full of detail.
The artists got past the color limitations by introducing dithering which really adds depth.
At the time of the late 1980s and early 1990s the display resolution of most console games were pretty low with an average resolution of around 256x224.
YU-NO blew past this with a resolution of 640x400 and the bump in resolution really shows in the amount of detail they can fit on screen.
There is a lot of variety in the artwork.
The backgrounds and locations are beautifully composed, showing the seaside town in both peace and unrest.
The sci-fi parts are also made more believable by the art making the unknown fit well within common place scenery.
The only nitpick I could find was some of the character art.
A lot of the character art is not the most original or realistic, with large busts and unhealthily slim waists being the standard template for most the women found in the game.
But they all feature unique personalities which are instantly recognizable in the art.
The romantic expressions, hair style and clothing is very well done and helps support the personalities displayed in voice and reading.
Another very important aspect to their design is the fact that they remain neutral enough to which that the parallels they showcase come off as believable and in character, and their actions never combat the way they look.
In pure comparison to other visual novels, they might not be the most attractive, but they are certainly among the more unique and definable.


If you are interested in the game and want to watch it here is my YouTube playlist.
I currently have over 66 hours recorded and I am getting close to the end.

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...o-d2u-bUXh8ST-

Also here is the first video just for people to get a taste of the game.




You could also try playing it yourself but the game can be a bit hard to get through without a walkthrough and even with the walkthrough it is pretty confusing.

Here is the walkthrough just to prove my point.

Link to walkthrough image because of the size

Last edited by RyviusRan; 2013-11-24 at 08:58. Reason: Use the images tag when posting big or lots of images.
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Old 2013-11-02, 14:23   Link #2
Libros
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Just wondering...where exactly does the walkthrough start?
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Old 2013-11-02, 14:29   Link #3
RyviusRan
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Originally Posted by Libros View Post
Just wondering...where exactly does the walkthrough start?
The walkthrough starts after the prologue and continues until right before the epilogue.

The prologue and epilogue are straight forward so there is no need of walkthrough for them.
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Old 2013-11-02, 15:00   Link #4
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My first playthrough got me to an ending that I needed something in order for it to be a happily ever after ending. So yeah, this game is pretty complicated, and the fact that there's no skip button for read text I believe? I couldn't go through a 2nd run.
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Old 2013-11-02, 15:24   Link #5
RyviusRan
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Originally Posted by Hooves View Post
My first playthrough got me to an ending that I needed something in order for it to be a happily ever after ending. So yeah, this game is pretty complicated, and the fact that there's no skip button for read text I believe? I couldn't go through a 2nd run.
Well for the main body of the game I think there are 14 endings in all.
The good endings don't unlock until you fully complete the game.

You can also skip text by holding down the ctrl key.
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Old 2013-11-02, 15:31   Link #6
Libros
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyviusRan View Post
The walkthrough starts after the prologue and continues until right before the epilogue.

The prologue and epilogue are straight forward so there is no need of walkthrough for them.
I meant on the image but thanks for this answer anyway. You're definitely right about it being complicated, nonetheless this VN looks interesting.
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Old 2013-11-02, 16:12   Link #7
RyviusRan
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Originally Posted by Libros View Post
I meant on the image but thanks for this answer anyway. You're definitely right about it being complicated, nonetheless this VN looks interesting.
The walkthrough starts on the very left.
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Old 2013-11-02, 18:58   Link #8
Freeter
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If you're going to attempt to play this game, use this walkthrough to do it. Trust me, it will save you a lot of time and frustration, doesn't spoil anything, and it guides you through each story arc in the best order (the progression made a lot of sense when I went through it this way).

As for the game itself, definitely the best explanation of time travel I've ever encountered in a game, or medium for that matter. Kanno spun such an intricate web that it's no wonder other companies never dared to make a sequel, or even a remake. It's a shame his other work, EVE Burst Error, couldn't escape that dreaded fate.

A little trivia for those who read The World God Only Knows: Wakaki has stated that this game is his favorite galge. One of the manga's arcs even has direct references to it.

Spoiler for game-related, do not open if you haven't played:
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Old 2013-11-03, 05:31   Link #9
RyviusRan
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When I first started YU-NO even the walkthrough looked confusing because I was not sure what would happen once I reached the end of a character route, but after that it became easier to understand.

I really wish there more games like YU-NO but nothing seems to compare.

It sucks that the author and music composer both died in 2011.
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Old 2013-11-03, 07:03   Link #10
Sagi
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I just played this game last year and is the best h game I have ever played. I liked the art a lot and the plot got me hooked all the way through.
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Old 2013-11-03, 10:25   Link #11
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I felt that the latter half was Xenogear'ed. Or I guess you can say it more accurately that Xenogears got Yu-No'd, since it does predate the PSX game. This is made worse by the fact that I think it has the most bullshit 'true route' of any VN I have ever played.

I mean don't get me wrong, prior to true route was excellent. But I didn't like anything after it, so it's definitely not in my top 10 at all.
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Old 2013-11-03, 11:04   Link #12
RyviusRan
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Originally Posted by DragoonKain3 View Post
I felt that the latter half was Xenogear'ed. Or I guess you can say it more accurately that Xenogears got Yu-No'd, since it does predate the PSX game. This is made worse by the fact that I think it has the most bullshit 'true route' of any VN I have ever played.

I mean don't get me wrong, prior to true route was excellent. But I didn't like anything after it, so it's definitely not in my top 10 at all.
Everyone has differing opinions.

I thought the Epilogue was the best part of the game.
I wish it was longer.

I've played many games especially other visual novels, translated and non-translated, and IMO nothing stands up to the quality and scale from the story in YU-NO.
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Old 2013-11-03, 11:44   Link #13
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I always wanted to play it and I even have the saturn version I bought many years ago. I wonder if it's really that amazing. I would say the best stories in games I have played were Xenogears, Xenosaga, Ever17, Remember11. There are more but these are the ones that came at the top of my head. So how would Yu-No compare to these epics? To which game is it most close to storywise. I heard the story is pretty simple without any major twists and turns in the plot.

Is it possible to get stuck in the game if you did something wrong?
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Old 2013-11-03, 12:05   Link #14
RyviusRan
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Originally Posted by ikusfan View Post
I always wanted to play it and I even have the saturn version I bought many years ago. I wonder if it's really that amazing. I would say the best stories in games I have played were Xenogears, Xenosaga, Ever17, Remember11. There are more but these are the ones that came at the top of my head. So how would Yu-No compare to these epics? To which game is it most close to storywise. I heard the story is pretty simple without any major twists and turns in the plot.

Is it possible to get stuck in the game if you did something wrong?

The game has some plot elements that are rather similar to Xenogears but it's not like it copied Xenogears in any way since YU-NO predates Xenogears by a few years.

I would stay away from the Saturn version of YU-NO.
The artwork is severely compressed which ruins the original quality.
The music audio was also botched when ported to the Saturn.

The game does have some twists and what I really enjoy about the plot is seeing how everything comes together.

There are ways to get stuck in the game if you forget to get an item early on. You can travel back to the spot you need to be if you placed a jewel save near it or you need to start from day 1 again.
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Old 2013-11-03, 14:24   Link #15
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I actually like this type of art and I've been aching for a good plot to immerse myself into... thinking about giving this one a go. I'll post something more once I actually get my hands on it and play a couple hours.
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Old 2013-11-03, 14:39   Link #16
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Originally Posted by RyviusRan View Post
The game has some plot elements that are rather similar to Xenogears but it's not like it copied Xenogears in any way since YU-NO predates Xenogears by a few years.

I would stay away from the Saturn version of YU-NO.
The artwork is severely compressed which ruins the original quality.
The music audio was also botched when ported to the Saturn.

The game does have some twists and what I really enjoy about the plot is seeing how everything comes together.

There are ways to get stuck in the game if you forget to get an item early on. You can travel back to the spot you need to be if you placed a jewel save near it or you need to start from day 1 again.
It's interesting that you said that about the saturn version because I thought it was supposed to be the best version, and isn't the translation patch replaces the original art with the one in the saturn version, along with the voices from the saturn version as well?

I'm not saying it copied Xenogears, lol. If it's anything like Xenogears then I would sure put Yu-No at the top of my list.
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Old 2013-11-03, 17:40   Link #17
RyviusRan
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Originally Posted by ikusfan View Post
It's interesting that you said that about the saturn version because I thought it was supposed to be the best version, and isn't the translation patch replaces the original art with the one in the saturn version, along with the voices from the saturn version as well?

I'm not saying it copied Xenogears, lol. If it's anything like Xenogears then I would sure put Yu-No at the top of my list.
Well it's not really like Xenogears but some aspects are similar.

The Windows version of YU-NO is currently the best because of the patch.
The patch adds the superior music from the PC-98 version and the voice work from the saturn version.

The music audio of the Saturn version was botched because the people porting the game over did not code the music properly for the sound chip used in the Sega Saturn.

If you want to hear a difference in the music quality you will have to compare youtube videos playing each version.
I might upload a comparison video later but that will take time.

Last edited by Daniel E.; 2013-11-04 at 02:03.
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Old 2013-11-03, 18:06   Link #18
ikusfan
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Oh I see it now, thanks for the pics. I had no idea the saturn version had so many problems.

And thanks for doing a video walkthrough of the game, probably took you a long time, thanks for all the effort.

I'll definitely play it, just need to finish whatever I'm currently playing first.
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Old 2013-11-03, 18:51   Link #19
RyviusRan
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Originally Posted by ikusfan View Post
Oh I see it now, thanks for the pics. I had no idea the saturn version had so many problems.

And thanks for doing a video walkthrough of the game, probably took you a long time, thanks for all the effort.

I'll definitely play it, just need to finish whatever I'm currently playing first.
I am actually still uploading videos for the walkthrough.
I am nearing the end for my recorded videos but still have around 13 hours to go.

What took me the most time is correctly mapping out everything down to what objects I can click on and how many times to click on them before the dialogue repeats.

Also getting the timing down for when to click to the next piece of text was annoying at first since everyone has different reading speeds but I think I found a decent enough timing.

Timing when to go from one spoken dialogue to the next for a smooth conversation was also a bit tricky.
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Old 2013-11-04, 04:25   Link #20
ikusfan
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Originally Posted by RyviusRan View Post
I am actually still uploading videos for the walkthrough.
I am nearing the end for my recorded videos but still have around 13 hours to go.

What took me the most time is correctly mapping out everything down to what objects I can click on and how many times to click on them before the dialogue repeats.

Also getting the timing down for when to click to the next piece of text was annoying at first since everyone has different reading speeds but I think I found a decent enough timing.

Timing when to go from one spoken dialogue to the next for a smooth conversation was also a bit tricky.
I thought that because the last two videos are called epilogue I thought this is the end, lol.

I also want to know about the clicking on items for different dialogues. One problem that Eve: Burst Error has is that at first when you make the same choices over and over you get new text but after a while the text starts to repeat, as a gamer you'd think that you need to move on to the next choice but there are many points in the game where no new dialogue shows up but you still need to make the same choices over and over to advance the story. Does Yu-No has the same problem?
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